Welcome to Natasha's Creative Confections! If you have stumbled upon this blog page, then you're in for a real treat! One of my favorite things to do is bake. If you choose to read on you will find pictures and recipes of some of the fabulous treats that I have created. So take a look around and enjoy!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
This past weekend, it was my dad's birthday and I usually bake him a carrot cake because it is his favorite. This year, he had wanted to try another cake, so I just decided to make the carrot cake into a batch of cupcakes to bring anyway :)
This carrot cake recipe is SPECTACULAR! Everyone that I have made this for LOVES it. I am not exaggerating...if you like carrot cake, you need to try this recipe. It is pretty easy and fun to make. If you decide to make the cake or cupcakes, you can't go wrong in flavor. This is delightful.
I had never made this cake recipe into cupcakes before. For the most part, they turned out ok, but a couple came out sunken in and just didn't form right. I'm not sure if this was the recipe--if it doesn't transfer as well into cupcakes, but it seemed like it was hard for the cupcakes to take shape. There were just a couple duds that I threw out, but the rest were fine.
The cake part is moist, which makes this extra good because dry carrot cake would not be very tasty. But it's the frosting that I think makes this cake so good. It is a lemon flavored cream cheese frosting and it is just delicious. There are so many wonderful ingredients that make up this cake and you can always substitute something if it's not to your liking.
If you try this recipe, I would love to know how you liked it!
For the cake:
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
-3/4 tsp. salt
-3 cups grated carrots (about 9 carrots)
-1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
-1 cup shredded coconut
-1/2 cup moist, plump raisins or dried cranberries
-2 cups sugar
-1 cup canola oil
-4 large eggs
For the frosting:
-8 ounces cream cheese, at room temp.
-1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1 pound (3 3/4 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted
-1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
-1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)
Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted coconut, for topping (optional)
Getting Ready: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter three 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, flour the insides and tap out the excess. Put two pans on one baking sheet and one on another (or if you're making cupcakes, line tins with cupcake liners).
To Make The Cake: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut and raisins.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil together on medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one, and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix in the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.
Bake for 40-50 minutes (20-30 if cupcakes), rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean; the cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months).
To Make the Frosting: Working with the stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice or extract. If you'd like coconut in the filling, scoop out about 1/2 of the frosting and stir the coconut into this portion.
To Assemble the Cake: Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer (or cover generously with plain frosting). Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake top side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting (or plain). Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top--and the sides, if you want--of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle them on now, while the frosting is soft.
(If you're making cupcakes, pipe the frosting on and top with nuts & coconut!)
Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.